Monday, November 20, 2006

The Function of Commisions

Michael Kinsley give some very useful insight into the Baker (and all other) Commisions. Interesting reading:

Michael Kinsley at Slate

Ordinarily, a commission like this has two possible purposes: action or inaction. Sometimes a problem is referred to a prestigious commission so that the commission can recommend what everybody knows must be done but nobody who must run for election has the nerve to propose. The commission can ram this policy down the politicians' allegedly unwilling throats. If it is bipartisan—and what fun is a commission that isn't bipartisan?—the commission also protects both parties against a stab in the back by the other.

On the other hand, sometimes a problem is referred to a commission simply to get it off the table. Action is widely perceived as necessary, and the creation of a commission can be made to look like action.

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